Residents in Ardersier have vowed to keep fighting Scottish Water over their plans to impose a new waste water treatment plant on their beach.
An information event was held on Wednesday 1st June by Scottish Water and representatives from Moray Estates were present but villagers were left with more questions than answers.
Local campaigner Isla O’Reilly said “It’s a classic tale of big developers and public bodies riding roughshod over local communities. Scottish water made a strategic decision about where the waste for the development of the A96 corridor will go without proper consideration or consultation to the residents of our village. There were other sites evaluated in 2007 and we urge them to go back to the drawing board.”
In 2007 a study was commissioned by the Scottish Water Development Group on behalf of The Highland Council. The options were evaluated on cost and risk and, in accordance with client instructions, the only consultations were with SEPA.
Then in 2011 they secured planning permission from the Highland Council which did not give due consideration or attention to the objections raised by the community council. At the planning committee meeting in 2011 Mr B Wynd stated that “the application was premature as there was additional waste water treatment capacity available in the area at Allanfearn, with space available for future expansion of that facility and the business case had not been made for new build at Ardersier.” He was advised that “the issue of there being additional capacity elsewhere in the locality was not a relevant planning reason for refusing the application. That was a business issue for Scottish Water.”
Villagers on Wednesday were told that Scottish Water wanted to work with the community to mitigate and minimise any smell or disruption from the increased traffic, construction works and ongoing operation.
Isla O’Reilly replied “It’s not good enough. We do not want the plant here. Our narrow roads and historic buildings will not cope with 24 lgv and 4 hgv trips a day. Our tourism and quality of life will be affected by this decision.”
Support for the petition on and off line has soared over 2,000 and the biggest high profile supporter Dame Helen Mirren released the following statement in support.
“It is with absolute horror that I heard about the proposed sewage plant at Ardersier. I know of Ardersier because I got married there and therefore know first-hand the kindness and generosity of the people of this little village.
This is a small and authentic community, rooted in the landscape and the sea. The people of Ardersier have lived there for generations, quietly getting on with their lives, working within the environment. Ardersier is not one of the famed beauty spots of Scotland; if it were, there would rightly be a huge outcry against this plan. However, Ardersier is as important to the history and beauty of Scotland as Loch Lomond or Fort William or any of the great tourist attractions, because Ardesier is quietly where the real Scotland is.
This proposal is destructive to this way of life, to a piece of Scottish History and to the environment. Please support the people of Ardersier in their fight against cruel and destructive planning.”